Ambev to restructure shares at Sao Paulo stock exchange - filing

Fri Dec 7, 2012 7:08pm EST

* Company will propose a single class of common stock

* Ambev seeks to cut admin costs, boost stock liquidity

* Restructuring would take the form of a stock swap

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Ambev, the Sao Paulo-based unit of Anheuser Busch InBev that is Brazil's largest brewer, plans to reorder its share structure so that it has only one class of stock, the company said in a securities filing.

Ambev said the reorganization, to be proposed to shareholders at an extraordinary meeting in April, would help reduce administrative costs, boost liquidity of its shares, and make governance at the brewer more transparent.

The process, to last well into next year, will take the form of a swap in which existing holders of common and preferred stock will exchange their shares for a newly issued common Ambev stock. The swap, the company said, would also include Ambev's American Depository Receipts.

Ambev's two biggest shareholders, Anheuser Busch InBev and a Brazilian foundation, have agreed to either abstain from the vote or to vote along with the majority of remaining shareholders on the proposal, the filing said.

On Friday, before the plan was filed with Brazil's stock market regulator, both classes of Ambev stock closed slightly lower at the Sao Paulo stock exchange, with common shares at 76.60 Brazilian reais ($37.00) and preferred shares at 87.75 reais ($42.39).

($1 = 2.07 Brazilian reais)

(Reporting by Sérgio Spagnuolo; Editing by Bernard Orr)